Kate Winslet Talks About the ‘Shame’ That Comes with Parenthood in an Emotional New Interview

When was the last time something happened with your kids that caused you to feel embarrassed or ashamed? For me, it was this morning, when my 5-year-old couldn’t get ready for school because I kept him up too late at a Super Bowl party last night. That might seem like a minor thing, but it adds up — and it’s tough to pile on shame over years of parenting and blaming yourself for every little thing that goes wrong. Kate Winslet opened up about this cycle of parents shaming themselves in a new interview, and she has one genius solution for it: bring these conversations out in the open.

The Titanic star opened up about shame in a new February 2024 cover interview with Net-A-Porter. Winslet shared how parenting — especially parenting teenagers — can bring about feelings of inadequacy.

Parenting Blame

“The thing about going through something traumatic with a teenager is that it is completely automatic for any parent to feel like it is your fault,” Winslet told the outlet. “So then this strange shame comes into play – and when the shame comes in, you shut down and you don’t discuss it or share it.”

It’s a tale as old as time — and one that Winslet wants to change. That’s one reason she took on the 2021 TV series I Am Ruth, about a mom trying to connect with her daughter, who is addicted to social media. “I wanted to tell a story that created a platform for people to just have a conversation. And that part of it has been overwhelming,” she said.

Acting Gene

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 14: Mia Threapleton and Kate Winslet with the Single Drama Award for 'I Am Ruth' during the 2023 BAFTA Television Awards with P&O Cruises at The Royal Festival Hall on May 14, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 14: Mia Threapleton and Kate Winslet with the Single Drama Award for ‘I Am Ruth’ during the 2023 BAFTA Television Awards with P&O Cruises at The Royal Festival Hall on May 14, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage) Karwai Tang/WireImage

Winslet also shared how her daughter Mia, 23, who she shares with ex Jim Threapleton, and her son Joe, 21, who she shares with ex Sam Mendes, both acted with her in the TV series. “Luckily, they’re good,” Winslet said about her children’s acting skills. She added that “It felt normal” to act with them. “These are kids who have been testing [me] on [my] lines pretty much since they could read. They’ve seen me terrified beforehand. They’ve gone through it with me,” she said.

And the TV drama really made an impact on people. “The other day, a parking attendant burst into tears when she saw me and said, ‘I Am Ruth,’” Winslet explained. It’s no surprise that this vulnerable role (that highlights a struggle many parents might go through but feel too embarrassed to admit) would find an audience. Kudos for Winslet doing her part to open up a conversation about this heavy topic, which already feels a little lighter knowing that other parents do the exact same thing.

TODAY -- Pictured: Kate Hudson on Thursday, January 4, 2024 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images)
Related story Kate Hudson Shared Adorable New Photos of Her Daughter Rani & She Looks So Grown Up

In her interview, Winslet also shared how things have changed for women acting now than when she started out. “It’s different now. Mia is very much her own person. [Young women now] know how to use their voice,” she explaining. Winslet also shared how she felt at 22 when Titanic came out. “I felt like I had to look a certain way, or be a certain thing, and because media intrusion was so significant at that time, my life was quite unpleasant.”

“Journalists would always say, ‘After Titanic, you could have done anything and yet you chose to do these small things’… and I was like, ‘Yeah, you bet your fuckin’ life I did! Because, guess what, being famous was horrible,’” she continued. “I was grateful, of course. I was in my early twenties, and I was able to get a flat. But I didn’t want to be followed literally feeding the ducks.”

Self-Confidence

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 06: Kate Winsletattends the
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 06: Kate Winsletattends the “Avatar: The Way Of Water” World Premiere at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on December 06, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage) Karwai Tang/WireImage

The Lee actress, who is also mom to son Bear, 10, with husband Edward Abel Smith, has opened up about the way her kids stand up for themselves before. “My daughter’s generation has an ability to speak for themselves,” Winslet told The Sunday Times in Dec. 2022. “They have already learned that they will be heard. Obviously not in every situation, but they know how to use their voice — especially young women. That’s striking to me.”

“When I was younger you spoke when spoken to. That is not the case now,” she added. “Young women are stronger. And they’re prouder of their bodies.”

And we can’t help but thank actresses like Kate Winslet for paving the way for young women to feel more confident today!